Instead of spending money on flight tickets, going on a road trip with friends and family can be a rewarding and fun experience. It saves you time from checking-in to the airport early and you can pace the trip as you like, stopping whenever and wherever you are to take in the scenery or even have an impromptu picnic.
Having said that, a road trip does require some planning though, since you probably don’t want to be stuck somewhere unfamiliar with insufficient fuel or no lodging. To help you prepare, we’ve got a list of helpful tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable road trip!
Step 1: Pick your destination
When picking your destination, you’ll need to consider how many days you have and the types of activities you are keen on. Planning for a short weekend getaway for the family? Then a road trip from Singapore up north to Malaysia could be good enough to not tire anyone out. Planning for a longer road trip overseas? Then you’d need to seek out detailed routes in order to plan your day-to-day itinerary.
When picking a destination, keep in mind how long you’d be driving, if someone else can take your place and whether your entourage will be bored with long distances without breaks.
Step 2: Plan your route
Once you’ve finalised your destination, get a detailed plan of your route. You can do this by downloading an offline google map on your mobile phone so that you can have access even without an internet connection. Some possible consideration includes how many stops you want to make along the way, any places of interests where you’d like to visit along the way, fuel and food stops, as well as accommodation.
If you are on a longer trip that lasts more than a week, you might want to keep your itinerary more flexible to take into consideration possible traffic disruption and weather situation. With regards to lodging, you might want to just book for the first half of the trip and continue booking the rest as your trip unfolds.
Step 3: Vehicle – drive your own or rent?
If you own a car in Singapore, it’s natural that you’d consider driving your car for your road trip if it is for a nearby trip. However, there can be some plus points to renting a car as well. For instance, if you are planning a road trip with your extended family, it might be worthwhile and more comfortable to rent a bigger car to drive in.
Choosing between driving your own car or a rental car can involve a number of considerations. This includes your insurance coverage(geographical location), the driving experience required of the named driver, cost, safety and security as well as added surcharges for having add-ons like baby seat. Do take into consideration these pros and cons before making a choice.
Step 4: Make sure your car is tuned up
It’s always good measure to ensure that your vehicle is prepared for a road trip before embarking on one. Ensure that the car’s servicing is up-to-date, tyres properly inflated, have an oil change and give it a good cleaning.
It’s also advisable to have an emergency car kit that includes a flashlight, tyre gauge, jumper cables and work gloves.
Step 5: Check your car insurance
Having the right car insurance is one of the most important items you’d need for your road trip. This will necessary for a peace of mind if anything unfortunate happens, especially when driving in unfamiliar territory.
If you are driving your own car, ensure that your car insurance includes the geographical locations you are driving to. For instance, DirectAsia’s comprehensive car insurance will cover you where your car is registered in Singapore and is being driven in Singapore, West Malaysia (including Penang and the other Malaysian islands offshore of West Malaysia) and Southern Thailand (being that part of Thailand which is within 80 kilometres of the border between Southern Thailand and West Malaysia).
You’ll also need to check if the insurance covers more than 1 driver if you have more than one person driving your car.
Since you are travelling, you should check for your travel insurance coverage as well. If you are renting a car for your road trip overseas, DirectAsia’s travel insurance will cover your rental car excess.
Step 6: Familiarise with local laws
Traffic laws are different in different countries. Make sure you know what the local signs mean, what the local laws are, speed limits and if that country requires a road tax or tolls for driving. Ensure that you have that taken care of or are prepared (with small bills in local currency) for them when you’ll have to pay them.
Step 7: Keep the passengers happy
Sitting in a car for hours when you are not driving may drive some people crazy. This is why it is essential to have some entertainment in the car to keep your passengers happy. If you have kids riding along, keep them occupied with toys and probably an iPad so that they do not distract you unnecessarily. Keeping some portable snacks is good for everyone since there may not always be a food stop nearby.
With the above list, you can look towards a seamless self-drive trip that can be both enjoyable and memorable. And remember, for a peace of mind, consider getting a car insurance quote and travel insurance quote from DirectAsia today!